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7 steps to get your marketing email into subscribers’ inboxes

You need to take seven steps to ensure the marketing email you’re creating has an excellent chance of making it into subscribers’ inboxes.
woman email marketer at computer thinking of CTAs

You need to take seven steps to ensure the marketing email you’re creating has an excellent chance of making it into subscribers’ inboxes. They’re all worth doing before you craft a subject line that will drive your open rate through the ceiling or find the most eye-catching image or even the greatest CTA. 

By taking these seven actions, you can dramatically improve the likelihood your email overcomes its first and possibly most critical hurdle – making it into your subscribers’ inboxes. This post will look at each. They are:

  1. Analyze your email list
  2. Avoid spam trigger words
  3. Make unsubscribing easy
  4. Authenticate your email
  5. Don’t send too many emails too often
  6. Monitor your metrics
  7. Test before sending

1. Start with your email list

The first step to ensure your emails are delivered is to look at the quality of your database, the collection of subscribers who’ve opted in to receive emails from you. Regularly remove inactive subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked on your emails. Remove them from your mailing list to keep it clean and avoid bothering people who aren’t interested. 

You should make efforts to keep your reputation clean. Avoid spam complaints, hard bounces, rejections of your emails, and unsubscribes. One way to limit those problems is to use a consistent sender name and email address. That builds trust with subscribers. 

2. Avoid spam trigger words

It’s common for organizations to have a spam filter on their email server. It protects companies’ email systems. Most email clients place suspicious emails in a spam folder to protect individual users. What triggers those systems is a characteristic or pattern in an email – even an email or message – that indicates it may be unsolicited. The triggers include keywords commonly found in spam messages, excessive capital letters or punctuation use, and suspicious links or attachments. Of course, emails sent from unfamiliar or suspicious emails are also triggers. Email filters and spam detectors use these triggers to identify and block potential spam messages from reaching subscribers’ inboxes.

Common spam trigger words include: free, limited time offer, act now, buy now, make money fast, exclusive, guarantee, discount, congratulations, click here, as seen on, and clearance, among others. 

3. Make unsubscribing easy

Include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your HTML email in the footer. You’re legally required to have this if you’re sending emails for a commercial or promotional purpose. The law is the CAN-SPAM Act. It gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them. This law also prohibits using false or misleading header information, deceptive subject lines, and harvested email addresses.

If you violate the CAN-SPAM Act, you can face penalties of up to $43,280 per email, imprisonment for up to five years, forfeiture of assets related to the violation, and other legal consequences.

4. Authenticate your email

To reduce the risk of marking your email as spam and increasing its credibility, you should implement email authentication protocols, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

An SPF, Sender Policy Framework, and a DKIM, Domain Key Identified Mail, are two ways to ensure emails are coming from a genuine or trusted source. DMARC, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, provides a more robust email authentication framework than SPF or DKIM. It allows domain owners to specify how email receivers handle emails that fail SPF and DKIM checks. As its name suggests, it provides reporting capabilities that let domain owners monitor and analyze email traffic and authentication results.

5. Don’t send too many emails too often

Sending lots of emails increases the chance your emails will be marked as spam or getting blocked. If those emails do make it to subscribers’ inboxes, they may feel overwhelmed by the volume of emails they get from you. Their likely action is to opt out and unsubscribe from your email distributions.

6. Monitor your metrics

Several measures help indicate if you have deliverability issues. 

If these metrics increase, you probably have a deliverability problem:

  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of emails that bounce back to the sender because it was undeliverable
  • Spam Complaint Rate: The percentage of recipients who mark your email as spam
  • Unsubscribe Rate: The percentage of recipients who opt out of receiving emails from you

If these metrics decrease, you may have a delivery problem:

  • Open Rate: The percentage of recipients who open your email.
  • Click-through Rate (CTR): The percentage of recipients who click on a link in your email like a CTA
  • Inbox Placement Rate: The percentage of emails that land in the recipient’s inbox as opposed to the spam folder
  • Engagement Rate: The percentage of recipients who interact with your email by opening, clicking, or replying
  • Sender Reputation: The overall reputation of your email sending IP address and domain.

7. Test before sending

Your process can be as simple as sending emails to yourself and your colleagues to see how an email looks on different email clients and devices. In addition, check to see if the email shows up in the inboxes or the spam folders. Alternatively, there are a number of email testing tools available that do that but in a more comprehensive manner. One such popular tool is Email on Acid. Along with seeing how your email looks, check the functionality. Do links, buttons, and images work as intended? 

To learn more about these steps and more ways to create better-performing emails, download the Stensul eBook How to become a better email creator.

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